Rev. Dr. Denny Wayman
As a pastoral counselor one of the most frustrating moments is when a person of color is being treated unjustly but the incident is either denied or claimed to be an over reaction by the person of color. These incidents are a form of abuse that have a deep and devastating effect on our brothers and sisters. It is difficult as a counselor to bring God’s healing to this pervasive disease that is pandemic in our broken world.
In this article my experience as a pastor, superintendent and counselor inform the church and Christian schools, as well as the larger culture, that these Microaggressions are actually Chronic Abuse. I explain, in part:
“When I teach the basics of counseling to pastors, I note that there are two general types of abuse: Acute and Chronic.
To explain the difference, I will have a person place their hand on the table and I will make a knuckle of one finger and tap their hand lightly. As I continue to do so I will say, “that doesn’t hurt, does it?” Nodding in agreement, they acknowledge that each of my taps are not individually painful.
But then I ask, “What if I tapped you for the entire day we’re here in the class?” They will then have a rather anxious look to which I will say, “And what if someone did so for 15 years of your childhood?”
When the awareness sinks in that some traumas cause damage not because of any single incident but rather due to their repetition,